Friday, 30 December 2016

Blue Skies on the Ridgeway

Walking from Swindon to Avebury, my favoured route involves walking beside Broome Manor golf Club, over the M4, and up Ladder lane, then through Overtown and onto the Ridgeway, it's really a short hop to Avebury, and well worth doing so on a bright winter day, such as we had on Wednesday.
This is what it was like:
 Looking back  to Barbury Castle, 
and below a section of track:
  I had three attempts at taking photos of one of the small clumps of beech woodland planted by the Victorians as landscape features and to give sheep some shelter.  Some clumps are even planted on top of Bronze Age round barrows, frowned upon today because of the damage tree roots do to ancient monuments. They are magnificent and a regular feature between Barbury Castle and the turn off to Avebury further along the Ridgeway

 I don't know which of the photos I like best, but the blue sky in the background certainly sets off the clumps, often called 'hedgehogs' wonderfully
 I also tried to get some good photos of cow parsley skeletons all that remains of the flush greenery of the spring, summer and autumn:
 They're really best close up I think
I love the section of the walk with Fyfield Down on the left, after the really muddy area, the track becomes much easier to walk along, as smooth as a golf course. The down has the best assemblage of sarsen stones in England. The stones are known here as the Grey Wethers, for their likeness to sheep when seen from a distance. They were noted by Col. Richard Symonds in his diary for 1644: "They call that place the Grey-wethers, because a far off they looke like a flock of sheepe." They support a nationally important lichen flora. An alternative name for this natural rock feature is Mother's Jam
You can see the area in the photo below, although the greywethers aren't visible from this spot..
 My phone usually stops working in this area, not even allowing me to take photos,  the last photos are on the camera and will be added later.

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